A Meal for Any Occasion
Photo by Stephen Hamilton
When I first started grilling and barbecuing in earnest, everyone I met from the West Coast would reply to the statement that California has no barbecue with, “Yes, we do. We have the tri-tip.”
The first time I ever tasted a tri-tip steak, it was prepared in the simplest of ways. It had a darkly caramelized crust on the outside that was almost black, with a glistening fuchsia interior. And I’ll
admit it: I thought it was the most beautiful piece of grilled meat I’d ever seen.
Here, I’ve paired it with garlic bread and a whole cabbage, which is my favorite barbecue side. To round out the meal, dessert is a brownie topped with caramel, chocolate ganache, and toasted pecan halves.
Tri-Tip Santa Maria
Yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 1 tri-tip steak (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Worcestershire powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- Double pinch of cayenne pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat grill with all burners on high. Once heated, adjust the temperature to medium-high heat for indirect grilling.
- Wrap steak in paper towels to remove excess moisture. Replace paper towels as needed.
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire powder, garlic, and cayenne to make a spice rub.
- Just before grilling, brush both sides of steak with oil, and season with half of the rub. Reserve remaining rub for Low-and-Slow Cabbage (recipe below).
- Place steak on cooking grate directly over fire. Cover with lid, and cook for 2 minutes for good grill marks. Turn steak, and sear over fire for another 2 minutes.
- Move meat away from flame, cover, and continue cooking for an additional 15 to 20 minutes for just under medium-rare, or until steak reaches an internal temperature of 130 F on an instant-read thermometer. Remember, the larger the piece of meat, the longer it’ll take to cook. Use the thermometer to ensure proper doneness.
- Remove steak from grill, and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 1 medium head green cabbage
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon spice rub (reserved from the Tri-Tip Santa Maria recipe, above), or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat grill with all burners on high. Once heated, adjust the temperature to medium heat for indirect grilling.
- With a sharp knife, remove core of cabbage, leaving a hole 3 inches deep. Turn cabbage upside down, so hole faces up. Gently loosen cabbage leaves from the inside cavity. Spread pieces of butter in the cavity and between the cabbage leaves. Sprinkle cavity with spice rub. Wrap cabbage in heavy-duty aluminum foil so only the hole is exposed.
- With crumbled aluminum foil, make a ring about as wide as the bottom of the cabbage. Place foil ring in center of cooking grate, away from heat, and set cabbage on it, with the hole facing down.
- Cover grill, and cook until the cabbage is tender and the leaves can be plucked from the core with little resistance, about 2 to 3 hours. Baste exposed top occasionally with the butter that’s melted in the cabbage core.
- Unwrap cabbage, and cut into wedges to serve.
Old-Fashioned Garlic Bread
Yields 4 to 6 servings.
- 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large loaf ciabatta or Italian bread
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Place garlic in a food processor, and process until minced. Add salt, butter, parsley, and pepper, and pulse until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, mash the garlic and salt together with a heavy blending fork or the back of a large spoon until a paste forms, then blend in the butter, parsley, and pepper.
- In a medium-sized skillet, heat oil over medium heat until warm, about 1 minute. Add garlic mixture, and stir until combined. Remove pan from heat.
- Slice bread in half horizontally. Spread oil and garlic butter mixture on both halves. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
- Place bread halves on a baking sheet, and bake until butter mixture is absorbed and bread is toasted, about 10 minutes. If you want your bread even more toasted, place it under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, and cut into serving-sized pieces.
Photo by Stephen Hamilton
Turtle Brownie Bites
Yields 48 bite-sized pieces.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces 70 percent bittersweet chocolate (such as Guittard), divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2/3 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
- Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
- 1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) pecan halves, toasted, for garnish
- Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
- Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-inch square cake pan with baking spray, then line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side. Smooth the paper evenly on the bottom and up the sides. The overhanging sides will help you remove the baked cake.
- Melt butter and 6 ounces of chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over simmering water. Chop remaining chocolate into small pieces, and set aside.
- Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add melted mixture, and beat until mixed. Add flour, a little at a time, beating until fully combined. Add chopped pecans and reserved chocolate pieces, stopping the mixer and scraping the side of the bowl as necessary.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Lightly tap pan on the counter to remove excess air bubbles.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan. The center should be moist but not runny, and a little chocolate will cling to a toothpick when it’s inserted into the cake’s center.
- Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before assembling. Leave cake in pan for assembly.
- To assemble, pour all but 2 tablespoons Caramel Sauce over top of brownie cake. Sprinkle with pecan halves, and then drizzle with Chocolate Ganache and reserved Caramel Sauce.
- Refrigerate until cold, then remove from pan and cut into pieces.
Yields about 2-1/2 cups.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a large saucepan, bring whipping cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 240 F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. You’re cooking it slightly less than you would if you were making candy. If you cook it too long, it’ll be hard, with the texture of toffee.
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt.
- Cool slightly before pouring over brownie cake.
Yields about 1/2 cup.
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- In a glass bowl, heat whipping cream in microwave on high to just under boiling, about 1 minute. Alternatively, heat it in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Add chocolate, and stir vigorously with a whisk until melted. Whisk in salt.
- Keep ganache warm by letting it sit in the bowl or saucepan in a shallow pan of hot water. As it cools, it’ll naturally thicken.
Elizabeth Karmel is a chef and author, and an expert on grilling, barbecue, and Southern food. This is excerpted with permission from her book Steak and Cake (Workman Publishing).